Not OK
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I saw a poster the other day
that said it's OK
to not be OK

I was sitting in a waiting room
while others sit
or just exist
on a waiting list
for months or years
Worsening trauma, growing fears
Not serious enough to jump the queue
or get what's good for you
Bide your time
stand in line
wait your turn
And as you wait, maybe you'll learn
to be more resilient
that would be brilliant
Parity of esteem?
in your dreams
The stuff of inspriation memes
Buzz words
fuzz words
nothing does words
Set targets
trust the market
It will decide
and it will provide
for those who pay

So is it OK
for the poster to say
that it's OK to not be OK?
Maybe it is
if it helps to get you through the day
But I have something else to say
- that it's not OK
- no, it's not OK
that so many people are not OK

He's a cutter
she's a hoarder
diagnosed with some disorder
Shouting in the street
letting yourself go
Starving, stuffing
highs and lows
Hidden women asking for help
mre men than women killing themselves
and why?
Because Big Boys Don't Cry
Lock your feelings clean away

So is it OK
for the poster to say
that it's OK to not be OK?
Or might it be better put this way:
that it's OK to say
that you're not OK
Because it's not OK
- no, it's not OK
that so many people are not OK

Pushed and pulled 
and put in your place
Demands and punches
in your face
Missed the grade
potential mislaid
Going nowhere
but a useless job
Coping, scrounging
moping, lounging
You went to war
or it came to you -
nothing you could do
The sights you saw
tore your core
and keep on pounding at your door
Can't get the pictures
out of your mind
Can't get a fix
for the kicks and the grind
for the knocks and the losses
Can't bear your crosses
Left on the shelf
And after all this, you are supposed to feel good about yourself?!
How does that work then?
Show us the way.

So is it OK
for the poster to say
that it's OK to not be OK?
Because there's something else I have to say
- that it's not OK
- no, it's not OK
that so many people are not OK

Maybe a mental health condition
diagnosed by a clinician
is not a surprising acquisition
all things considered, given the position
Maybe understandable
easily expandable
Maybe even rational
compassionate reaction
attempted extraction
from a horrible, intolerable
situation
Direct or indirect causation
when life is unbearable 
seems irreparable
One in four?
It's a bloody miracle it isn't more
People who live with all this shit
and don't go nuts
don't fall to bits
don't tip the table
don't scream as loud as they are able
don't get labelled
Maybe they are the ones who need their heads examining
What do you say?

Would it be OK
to put up a display
saying it's OK to not be OK?
Yes, I think it may
But there's something else I want to say
- that it's not OK
- no, it's not OK
for so many people to be not OK

Or maybe your life is fine
and dandy
Bills paid on time
and life as sweet as sugar candy
But still the blues
keep creeping up on you
Always worrying, never sleep
haven't done for weeks
And every day's the bloody same
It's not a game
and it's not all in your mind
some of it's in the world outside
So stay in bed
That's what the voices in your head
said
Keep the demons away

So is it OK
for the poster to say
that it's OK to not be OK?
Maybe it is
if it helps to get you through the day
But I have something else to say
- that it's not OK
- no, it's not OK
that so many people are not OK

Awareness raised
by awareness days
laying bare
Now we're aware
of how sick we are
Hurrah
And yes -
it can help to share distress
to get the pressure
off your chest
But the pressure will come again
with consequential mental pain
unless we click
that it's the system that is sick
Past the days of awareness
of signalled virtue and how-much-we-care-ness
are those who rule us and could not care less
if they tried
There's them and us
and they are on the other side
It's their system that's broken
not your feet of clay

So it is OK
for us to say
we want the pressure off today
for debt and worry to be taken away
to get support without delay
to have time to play
Because it's not OK
- no, it's not OK
that so many people are not OK